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The Marcellus Shale, Explained

Background

Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and west to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. The Marcellus Shale is just one of many shale formations across the world. When industry speaks of tapping shale gas, it often refers to it as a “shale play.” The Marcellus is one of the first shale plays to be tapped, after the Barnett Shale formation in Texas.

Latest Posts

New fracking reports clash over effects on health, environment, climate change

A long-running fight over whether unconventional oil and natural gas development harms air, water and human health entered its latest round with the simultaneous release of reports from both camps claiming accumulating evidence for their arguments. Two groups of physicians on Thursday released their latest compilation of scientific studies, government and industry reports, and journalistic investigations [...]

Pre-election report says any fracking ban would hurt jobs

Any federal ban on fracking for oil and natural gas would cause fuel prices to surge, leading to job losses, higher electricity and gasoline costs and an increased cost of living, especially in top gas-producing states like Pennsylvania, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a report issued on Friday. Four days before the presidential [...]

Supporters of One Call reform lament passage of ‘bare minimum’ bill

Supporters of a bill to improve protections for underground infrastructure such as gas pipelines criticized the passage of a watered-down version of the measure that extends the current law for a year without building in more safeguards. Senate Bill 1235 passed the Pennsylvania legislature on Wednesday, preventing the current law from expiring as scheduled on [...]

EPA steps up pressure on FERC over new pipeline assessment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accused the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of failing to fully address climate change in its assessment of a new plan to build a natural gas pipeline through three states including Pennsylvania, adding a powerful new voice to claims that FERC takes a permissive approach to gas-industry projects. The EPA [...]

Advocates urge last-minute vote to save PA pipeline safety law

An effort to preserve and expand a Pennsylvania law designed to protect underground pipes and cables from accidental damage by construction work has almost run out of time in Harrisburg. A state bill to amend the Underground Utility Line Protection Act was on Wednesday, still due for consideration by a Pennsylvania House committee, this just [...]

Delco township gives go-ahead to Mariner East 2 but demands safeguards

Delaware County’s Middletown Township decided on Monday to allow Sunoco Logistics to build its controversial Mariner East 2 pipeline through four parcels of public land but called for rigorous protections against leaks or explosions of natural gas liquids in light of  grave public concerns about the pipeline’s safety. The township’s council voted unanimously to approve [...]

PennEast critics accuse FERC of trying to control public comment

This story has been corrected to change some meeting locations, reflecting updated information from FERC. Opponents of a plan to build a natural gas pipeline from northeastern Pennsylvania to central New Jersey registered their objections with federal regulators on Monday, and accused officials of trying to control public discussion on the controversial project. Participants were [...]

Shale drillers produce more gas with fewer wells in 2015

Natural gas production in Pennsylvania is up despite a drop in the number of new wells. The Department of Environmental Protection released its 2015 annual oil and gas report on Monday, detailing such things as the number of wells drilled, locations, and inspections. The state’s shale wells produced 4.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas [...]

Demonstrators urge PES to rethink its plans for expansion at Southport

Jon Hurdle / StateImpact PA Environmentalists and community activists fixed flowers to the perimeter fence at Philadelphia Energy Solutions during a demonstration calling on the refiner to rethink its plans to expand at the proposed Southport marine terminal. Environmentalists and community activists called on Philadelphia Energy Solutions on Tuesday to withdraw a proposal to build [...]

Clean energy advocates urge DNC to ban fracking, promote renewable fuels

Thousands of campaigners for clean energy marched through the center of Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention on Sunday, urging the party to adopt policies that would ban fracking and promote the use of renewable energy. In an event that mixed national politics with local opposition to specific energy projects, some demonstrators [...]

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